4 Tips to Create Work-Life Balance at Your Salon

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If I was asked to pick a single word to describe who stylists are, it would be this: Sensitive. 

Stylists are sensitive. And by that, I don’t mean that we’re liable to break—we’re anything but fragile! What I mean is that we’re people pleasers. We’re great at reading people, at understanding their motivations, at tapping into their emotions and at using all of that information to perform the absolute best service possible. 

And that’s a part of what makes our job so great: Who else can say that they spend all day helping someone look beautiful and feel amazing?

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Unfortunately, this can also make it really difficult for us to build boundaries, stand up for ourselves, and say “no” when we really should. A client asks you to squeeze them in after hours so they can look their best for a job interview the next day; your coworker asks you to cover their shift so they can get to their son’s big soccer game on time; your boss asks you to close even though you specifically requested the morning shift, because she knows you’re responsible enough to do it right. And not wanting to disappoint, we put ourselves last and suck it up.

But that’s a one-way ticket to burnout, which is unhealthy and unsustainable.

As a stylist or salon owner, are you struggling with maintaining a healthy work-life balance for yourself or your staff? Here are some tips that can help!

What is work-life balance?

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For most of us, our daily lives can be split into two key chunks of time: Work, and everything else (life).

Work-life balance refers to the ideal scenario when these two parts of our lives work together in a cohesive and balanced way. When this is achieved, it means that we can be fully present in work or at home and not feel guilty about not being in the other place. 

So many of us feel an overwhelming amount of guilt when we’re at work and not home with their family or vice versa, when we’re home with family but constantly thinking and worrying about work. Neither one of these scenarios is healthy or productive.

Work is important; it’s how we make the money that we use to support our families and our passions. But so is your personal life and your family life and your health. When we start believing that work is more important than the other parts of our life, or vice versa, we do ourselves and our loved ones a real disservice.

Why is it so important?

If you’re not able to focus on what is in front of you, that isn’t just counterproductive—it isn’t healthy. It can create a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress, which can really wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing. 

As a salon owner, you’re concerned about being the best owner you can be, but you also need to be the best mother, wife, friend, etc. you can be. To do this, you need to put in place the systems that will allow you to delegate and know that your business is in good hands even when you’re not there.

And as a stylist, you’ve probably been conditioned to be double-booked, working 40+ hours each week, taking on any and all clients even if they’re rude to you. You’re trained to keep clients happy even if they’re affecting you mentally, just so that you can make money and be “successful.” But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can have work-life balance and still be successful so long as you make it a priority. 

Tips for Creating Work-Life Balance in Your Salon

1. Create salon policies and systems that facilitate balance.

As a salon owner, you need to have policies and systems in place to manage your internal processes. Policies around scheduling, time-off, sick days, cancellations, booking, refunds, referrals, commission...there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it: You need to have these policies in order for your business to be successful. 

So why not take something that you need to have anyway and turn it into a tool that also helps you and your staff maintain work-life balance? Streamline everything you can to elevate the experience for your customer while also helping to keep you and your staff organized. The more organized you are during the day, the more productive you will be during the hours you’re actually scheduled to work, and the less likely work is to bleed over into your personal life. 

2. Hire and train leaders—not staff.

When it comes to hiring for your salon, you can do so according to one of two philosophies: You can hire employees, or you can hire team members. While this might seem like a lot of semantics, there’s actually a really important difference. Employees come into work because they can do the job and want to make money; team members come into work because they care about the wellbeing of everyone else and understand how their presence or absence affects everyone else.

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As the owner, you have final say over who you hire and who you don’t. By hiring people who believe in your vision, culture, and values, you’re building a team that you can trust to lead your business even if you’re not physically in the salon to watch over them—which can go really far in establishing work-life balance.

3. Learn how to delegate effectively.

This piece of advice is directly related to the one above. Once you’ve built a team that you know you can trust and rely on, you’ve got to learn how to delegate effectively. 

It’s understandable that you might be apprehensive about leaving somebody else in charge of your business. It’s your baby, after all! But unless you want to be opening your doors every morning, locking up at night, and never taking a vacation, you’ve got to learn how to let certain things go and delegate. 

4. Lead by example. 

As much as you should be prioritizing work-life balance for yourself, you should be prioritizing it for your employees. Someone who’s burnt out isn’t as effective as someone who is energized and refreshed; ensuring that your team members have a healthy work-life balance doesn’t just make you a good boss, it makes you a smart businessperson.

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One of the best ways of achieving this is to lead by example. Make it clear to your employees that you prioritize work-life balance for yourself and that you hope they do as well. Take vacation so that they don’t feel guilty about taking time off themselves. Use a sick day if you’re feeling under the weather so don’t think they need to tough out a cold. Demonstrate balance so that they know what it looks like.

Want to learn more about how you can avoid burnout and prioritize self-care? Sign up for our Salon Consulting Program, with Society Manager Ashley and SALT's Marketing Manager Sarah. These calls are customized specifically to your business situation! Learn all about creating a healthy and vibrant salon culture, performing a pre-screening consultation video, cancellation policies, and more!

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